Ma ma mia! Where’s the beef?
I love this expression from one of my friends. It makes me laugh all the time…but she’s always serious when she says it because, for her, this expression is to tell herself that she has to go back to the essential when she’s overwhelmed by a situation.
Too cool! I wished I had an expression that would force me to pause and think about where I’m at…and then reflect on the situation and take a more favorable course of action.
Sometimes, we need to stop and pause and verify if we are at the right place for us. This is vital if we don’t want to hit a wall.
However, it is difficult to do when we feel that we are always running and running and running for our life.
I remember when my kids were younger, we were running all day long to get ready for daycare, school, work, then spend the day working and come back to pick up the kids, make supper, clean up the house, play with the kids, prepare them for bed and then, work again before going to bed. To add more, we decided that our kids had to have two courses, one art related and a sport one. It was totally crazy!
Of course I ran into the wall! and badly I did…and it was really hard to get back to a normal life.
How can we prevent hitting the wall before it’s too late?
These are tips given by David Ballard, PsyD, from The American Psychological Association.
Take Relaxation Seriously
Whether you take up meditation, listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or visiting with friends and family, truly think about what you’ll do to relax, and designate time for it.
Cultivate a Rich Non-Work Life
Find something outside of work that you are passionate about that’s challenging, engaging and really gets you going—whether a hobby, sports or fitness activities or volunteering in the community (along with other items we mention here, like relaxation, being able to “turn off” and participating in rewarding non-work activities).
While communication technology can promote productivity, it can also allow work stressors seep into family time, vacation and social activities. Set boundaries by turning off cell phones at dinner and delegating certain times to check email.
Get Enough Sleep
Research suggests that having fewer than six hours of sleep per night is a major risk factor for burnout, not least because poor sleep can have negative effects on your job performance and productivity. It can lead to fatigue, decrease your motivation, make you more sensitive to stressful events, impair your mental function, leave you more susceptible to errors and make it harder to juggle competing demands. The reverse is true, too: We’ve seen that sleep can actually improve your memory.
Often, people spend a lot of time worrying that they’ll forget to do something or that something important is going to slip through the cracks. Get organized, clear your head, put together a to-do list (or an electronic task list) then prioritize. That way, you don’t have to keep thinking about those things because you’ll have systems in place to remind you.
It’s important to tune into the precursors of those conditions, physical signs that you might be under too much stress: more headaches, tight shoulders, a stiff neck or more frequent stomach upset.
Know When It’s You, and When It’s Them
Burnout is sometimes motivated by internal factors, Dr. Ballard says, and sometimes it really is a symptom of external ones. In the first case, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Where is this coming from?” so you can figure out what’s stressing you out, and how to maintain your internal resources to keep yourself motivated, doing your best work and functioning well.
Some burnout really is the fault of work. “In a survey we did in 2011, more than two-thirds of respondents said that their employers had taken steps to cut costs as a result of the recession,” like hiring freezes, layoffs, cutting work hours, rolling back benefits, requiring unpaid days off, increasing hours, etc. All that increases demands on workers,” he says. “Those are the two components that play into burnout: There are more demands and fewer resources.” To find out whether it’s time to move on, figure out whether your position is a “mismatch between your needs and what you’re getting working for that particular organization.”
It is Important to Take Care of Yourself!